What Is To Be Done?

What Is To Be Done?

Paul O’Mahoney

The philosopher Slavoj Žižek challenges what he sees as a facile left-liberal consensus, asking how many immigrants from Islamic countries really want to be integrated into the norms and practices of Western societies. What if the obstacle to integration is not Western racism?

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Out of the Rut

Out of the Rut

John Horgan

The 1960s saw Ireland escaping for a few years from the glumness of the previous decade before crisis returned in 1973. It was a happy time to be middle class and young. However, the good times were differentially distributed and not everyone’s memories are happy.

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No Sweat

No Sweat

Michael Hinds

James Joyce and Walter Benjamin worked hard over decades to evolve idiosyncratic methods apt for the city-text they wanted to communicate. But Kenneth Goldsmith’s montage version of New York comes from a culture that no longer attaches value to work, only to product.

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Meet the Folks

Nicola Gordon Bowe

The term ‘Celts’ has been used for 2,500 years and has changed its meaning many times. Though a cultural construct, it continues to strike a chord both nationally and globally among the populations of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and in their diaspora communities around the world.

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Gypsy Dancer

David Blake Knox

Johann Trollman was a gifted athlete who floated like a butterfly through German boxing bouts in the 1930s. But he was a member of the Sinti community, operating in a sport the Nazis considered a forum for the display of essential Aryan values. He could not be allowed to win.

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Not Our Fault

Sean Byrne

A senior official of Ireland’s Department of Finance concludes that all the officials he worked with in the run-up to the country’s economic collapse were dedicated, hard-working and of the highest intellectual ability. If this were the case why did they not see the crisis coming?

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Your language or mine?

Michael Cronin

A language, it has been said, is a dialect with an army, or at the least one with a regional assembly. A new study, which seeks to identify patterns of ecological constraints operating on the circulation of literary texts, suggests that a “language is a dialect with a literature”.

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The Pope’s Divisions

Michael Staunton

By the early seventh century, the Roman church was the cultural mortar of western European society. It became the single institution that cut across political boundaries and ethnic divisions, collecting taxes, administering justice and enjoying the power of life and death over its members.

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Here I Stand

Patrick Claffey

Martin Luther believed the papacy to be one of the great human agencies through which Satan operated on earth. This goes a long way to explaining the virulence of his polemic against the Catholic church, which still has the power to cause some offence.

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The Empire Strikes Back

Paul Hyde

Roger Casement wanted a free Ireland restored to the nations of Europe but he passionately wanted something else, something which he was unusually placed to understand, the dismemberment of the British empire. Captured and tried, he was unlikely to be forgiven.

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Dissenting Radical

Donal Fallon

Archibald Hamilton Rowan was viewed by both the authorities and his fellow members of the United Irishman as its leading light but his name has faded from memory compared with those of Tone or Emmet as he spent the most dramatic years of revolutionary activity in exile.

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Dum Spiro Spero

Seamus O’Mahony

Many patients with a debilitating terminal disease might, one would think, be glad to hear their time is short. Still, ignoring the statistics, oncologists will offer ‘hope’ and more treatment. Why, asks the old doctors’ joke, do coffins have nails? To keep the oncologists out.

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Jagged Lines and Smooth Numbers

Harry Clifton

Robert Lowell once said that all problems in art are ultimately technical problems and and it is the jaggedness of line of Derek Mahon's most famous poem, “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford”, that sets it apart from many other accomplished pieces.

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In Two Minds

David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan

The publication of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ upset many fans of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. Nevertheless it may well present a more accurate picture of what is actually involved in practising law and of the conflict between purely procedural law and justice.

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From On High

Jamie Blake Knox

Choosing a suitable person in the nineteenth century to write a history of the Irish Anglican church was a complex matter, for identity was not just a matter of religious doctrine: it also related to ethnic and political allegiance and to relations with Catholics and Presbyterians.

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We Know Nothing

James Moran

A new book on Irish immigrants in Manchester raises wider issues of anti-immigrant prejudice and racism while helping us to reconceive the geographies of Irishness and the locations and spaces in which a migrant Irish identity has been articulated and sustained.

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Picturing the People

Catherine Marshall

Daniel Macdonald’s ‘An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of their Store’ is perhaps a strange painting for a man wanting to make his career in London to produce. Macdonald’s sympathy for the downtrodden and their culture is unique in his generation.

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Press Button B

A raft of books from the US suggests that as a society we have made a Faustian pact with the tech giants and there is now no getting out of it. But have we really lost all freedom of action? Could we not, individually, just turn off our phones for a few hours and go to the library?

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A Rising Diary

A journal kept during April and May 1916 reflects the experience of the Easter Rising of a professional family who lived in Dublin’s Merrion Square, a comfortable part of south Dublin but one which was in close proximity to some of the fiercest fighting.

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Brexit: 1649 or 1688?

A review of the Brexit debate as reflected in the pages of the Guardian newspaper from May 1st, 2016

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Retooling Utopia

Philip MacCann

One man’s heaven can be another’s hell. Wilde trusted in the state to appropriate the family while HG Wells favoured sterilisation of the infirm, pan-surveillance and micro-management of citizens’ personal data, criss-crossing government departments through pneumatic tubes.

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Response to James Moran

David Barnwell

A reader takes issue with remarks on Donald Trump and his politics included in the essay ‘We Know Nothing’ published in the May issue.

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Red, Pink and Blue

Samuel Freeman in 'The New York Review of Books' finds Roger Scruton’s inclusion of American progressive liberal thinkers in his general denunciation of hard left theorists unconvincing.

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No Plaster Saint

Theo Dorgan

James Connolly’s participation in the 1916 Rising was part of a calculated gamble. Glorifying him as an exponent of physical force politics, however, is a corruption of his beliefs and hopes, a travesty of his analysis, a grotesque and impermissible appropriation.

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On The Money

In the London Review of Books John Lanchester envisages the possible disappearance, facilitated by new secure technologies, of money and banks. Would this be a good thing or would it make it even more difficult than it already is to recycle corporate profits for public goods in the shape of schools, hospitals, roads and police services?

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Unwoven

Brendan Lowe

A sonnet sequence by the poet Micheal O’Siadhail traces his experiences over the two-year period which culminated in his wife’s death from a terrible disease which makes war on human dignity.

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Half The Man

Thomas Fitzgerald

A new biography of Patrick Pearse neglects the important cultural and educational sides of his achievement and fails to build on or even engage with previous studies of the man who is probably the most interesting of the 1916 rebels.

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The Thing With Feathers

Adam Wyeth

Nuala O’Connor’s novel Miss Emily is more than a portrait of a poet executed with exquisite precision. It offers a fresh, enhancing approach to Dickinson’s inner life, showing a woman with zest and independence of mind.

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Hard and Soft

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

The virtues of Jane Clarke’s first verse collection include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.

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On a Wing and a Prayer

Patrick Gillan

In 1978 John Zachary DeLorean made a successful pitch for British state aid to start production in West Belfast of what he said would be the “world’s most ethical mass production car”. There was very little that was ethical about what followed.

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Witnessing

Keith Payne

The answer then as to why tell these women’s stories, why write this, why read this, are the poems themselves. As with all the important questions, the questions that need to be asked and often can only be formulated by a poet, the poem is the answer.

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Voices from Elsewhere

Tom Tracey

Rob Doyle’s new collection demands to be read if for no other reason than to observe what the new generation of talent is beginning to produce by way of a tradition moving steadily away from McGahern’s Ireland into a foreignness no less real for being in no way green.

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Getting to Grey

Liam Hennessy

Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.

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Astonished at Everything

Peter Sirr

Generosity and largeness of vision seem to meet happily in the poems of Uruguayan-French writer Jules Supervielle, which seem to cover great distances in short spaces.

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All or Nothing

Joschka Fischer

Those Germans who argue so vehemently against a so-called transfer union should realise that the EU has always been such a union. France got the CAP for its large rural economy and Germany the common market for its strong industry. Little has changed since.

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Birds, beasts and flowers

Gerald Dawe

DH Lawrence’s poetry offers a record of the powerful current of physical pleasure, the elusive joy of witnessing that which is different, and the kind of opinionated prickliness when things are not what they seem to be or should be.

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The Stilled World

Nicola Gordon Bowe

Unsentimental, sparing and unspecific, the painter Patrick Pye has sought figurative images to represent symbolically “the archetypes of our humanity” depicted in an alternative universe where expiation has been achieved.

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Au Revoir, Europe

Internationalist British journalist, sixtysomething but not a bad catch, seeks Polish, Italian, French or Irish woman with intellectual interests for quick marriage and happiness ever after in the European dolce vita.

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I do I do I do

A number of cases of bigamy which came before the courts in Edwardian Dublin demonstrate that the crime could be entered upon for a variety of motives, not all ignoble.

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Poems Upstairs: New Poets from the North of Ireland

Readings from poets featured in New Poets from the North of Ireland, edited by Sinéad Morrissey and Stephen Connolly. Wed 1 June, 7pm.

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I’ll Mind Your Money

The wives of many of the Dublin poor received an unexpected bonus during the First World War while their husbands were away at the front in the form of 'separation money'. For many this was the first regular payment they'd ever had. Unfortunately not all of them spent it wisely.

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Ideal Homes

A distant prospect of a life of ease in the Big House is intoxicating to many. Nevertheless, not everything is necessarily as wonderful as it seems and the servants in particular can be a frightful problem.

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Carcanet’s Emerging Poets: Adam Crothers, Caoilinn Hughes and Helen Tookey

Three of Carcanet Press’s finest emerging poets, all distinguished alumnae of Carcanet’s bestselling New Poetries anthology series who have gone on to publish highly successful debut collections. Sat 11 June, 6.30pm.

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The Mob and the Jews

Two years after the opening of the Nazi extermination camps there was widespread anti-Jewish rioting in Britain, resulting in the burning of synagogues, destruction of property and desecration of graveyards.

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Women Won't Wait

Not everyone in Irish political life supported women's suffrage. In fact the idea was strongly opposed by many in the Irish Parliamentary Party and by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Nevertheless, the independent state managed to get in well before the United Kingdom.

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Cakes, Ale and Learning

Lord Byron, exiled after a welter of scandals in England, found Venice a good place to pursue his normal interests of debauchery and adultery. But you can't hack that all the time without taking a rest.

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Suffragette Unionists

It is quite well known that the supposed solidarity felt between the working classes of different nations melted away fairly quickly on the declaration of the First World War. So too, apparently, did English suffragettes' sympathy for the aspiration to Irish independence.

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Don't Call Me That

Our friends the Czechs want us to call their country by a different name. But as all citizens of Ireland, Eire, the Republic, the South and the Twenty-six Counties know, this is not always a simple matter.

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Us And Them

The question of whether Britain should stay in the EU or leave will be settled as a purely transactional one: is it likely to be good for business or not? There is no point in appealing to a European vision for Britain has never had one.

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Imre Kertész: 1929-2016

The Hungarian writer and Nobel prizewinner Imre Kertész, who has died aged eighty-six, was deported to Auschwitz aged fourteen. Pondering on that experience, and more broadly on totalitarianism, was to provide him with the material for his life’s literary work.

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Still No Reckoning

The sentencing of Radovan Karadžic for crimes including ordering the Srebrenica massacre has been greeted as a cause of satisfaction. But what about all the other preceding massacres? When, asks Ed Vulliamy, will we see justice dispensed for them?

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Ireland And Antisemitism

English Catholic writers like GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were very popular in Irish schools in the last century, Chesterton's prediction of the demise of Protestantism being particularly valued. But their entrenched antisemitism, or indeed any antisemitism, found very few takers in Ireland.

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We're all in this together

A conference to be held in Poland this autumn will consider the idea of solidarity, and by implication its current relative absence in Europe. Are there limits to how much solidarity can realistically be expected? Can we bring it back, or will 'national egotism' triumph?

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Nine Years of the Dublin Review of Books

Happy birthday to us as we enter our tenth year. The drb first appeared on St Patrick's Day 2007.

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New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring The Found Voice by Denis Sampson and Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry.

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World Literature

Featuring Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday and debut novel What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell.

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Irish History & Politics

Featuring new biographies of Percy French and Daniel Binchy.

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World History & Politics

Featuring a ISIS: A History and a book about Churchill and Ireland.

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Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Patrick Deeley's memoir The Hurley-Maker's Son.

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World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring The Way We Die Now by Seamus O'Mahony and artist Grayson Perry's book Playing to the Gallery.

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Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring a study of welfare and healthcare reform in revolutionary and independent Ireland, The End of the Irish Poor Law?

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More New Books ...